UNESCOS WORLD HERITAGE SITES TOURS

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UNESCO'S  WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN INDIA

Taj Mahal Agra

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in : (1631-1648 AD)

Year of Inscription : 1983

Reasons for Inscription :

The reason behind including the Taj Mahal in the list of World Heritage Sites is its unique architecture which has balanced wonderful aesthetic qualities, symmetry and harmonious blending of different stylish elements and architectural splendor of Indo-Islamic style of construction.

Category : Secular structure, burial

Timing : From 6 am to 6 pm        

Closed on : Friday

N.B : Night visiting at Taj Mahal starts at 8pm and continues till 12.30 am

Taj Mahal in Brief

One of the seven wonders of the world, the epitome of love, the Taj Mahal is a huge mausoleum of white marble in the district of Agra in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is one of the most famous buildings around the world which is visited by millions of tourists from across the world every year. A witness to the great historical happenings of the Mughal Era, this construction was built by the Mughal King Shahjahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Approx. 20,000 stone carvers, craftsperson, and artists were hired from different corners of the country along with artists from Iraq and Turkey. They worked for around 17 years at a stretch to give a shape to this wonder. This gorgeous heritage site is set amidst lush greenery and River Yamuna flows at the backdrop of this magnificent site.

The main abode is set on a platform where minarets, arch-and-dome profile of pristine white marble and intricate designs mesmerize the tourists. The painstaking details on its walls, entrance, and roofs reflect the Pietra Dura form of art and give a detailed idea about the advancement of fine arts in Mughal-ruled India.

Inlaid semi-precious stones are carved in Koranic verse on calligraphy and there is a prevailing belief that these are prayers written in Arabic language. On both side of the main mausoleum two red sandstone buildings looks as fine contrasting element. The building on the western side is a mosque while the other is a guesthouse of Mughal age.

2. Khajuraho Temples Madhya Pradesh

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in : 10th century

Year of Inscription : 1986

Reasons for Inscription : According to the 1st and 2nd criteria of Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention any monument which exhibits extraordinary human creativity is to be awarded the title of World Heritage Site. Khajuraho, through its architectural magnificence displays the height of artistic excellence reached by the architects of a particular time in ancient India. Unlike other Hindu temples, Khajuraho attracts attention not for its presiding deities or religious importance, but rather for the incredible carvings and designs depicted on the temple walls.

Category : Hindu religious structure.

Timing : 8 am to 6 pm

Closed On : Null

Khajuraho in Brief

Located in Chattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is the pride of Indian architectural grandeur. It was built during the rule of Chandela Dynasty which was at its height during the time span of 950 to 1050. The temple complex was reported to be an amalgam of 85 temples in earlier days, though today only 25 temples are found. The temples are believed to be the greatest masterpiece of ancient Indian art.

Three main complexes of the temple are dedicated to different gods and goddesses of Hindu belief whereas some of them are dedicated to Jaina belief as well. The temples in western complex are mainly dedicated to Hindu deities whereas the temples in the Eastern Complex are mainly dedicated to Jaina Tirthankaras.

Though the monuments of Khajuraho are dedicated to two different religions, yet they share a common typology. The amazingly decorated building, i.e., the Janghas are set on an elevated structure. The Janghas are again enclosed with several registers of inscribed panels upon which open-work galleries are set. These Janghas are crowned by a series of towers with curvilinear contours and Sikharas.

All these towers are unique features of the temples in the Nagera style and symbolize the Cosmic Mountain of Mount Kailasha. The unique plan of the temple includes an entrance, mandapa, sanctum-sanctorum, apart from different annexes. 

3. Pattadakal Hampi Karnataka

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in : Later half of the 14th Century

Year of Inscription : 1986

Reasons for Inscription : The Group of monuments at Hampi was enlisted in World Heritage Sites under criteria no. (i), (iii) and (iv). The integration between the well planned city of Hampi with its natural setting and architectural grandeur speaks about the artistic skills possessed by the then architects. Moreover, Hampi is the only remnant of Vijayanagar Kingdom which provides huge information about the completely destroyed Hindu dynasty in India.

Category : Archaeological site, South (East) Asian Religious structure, Hindu.

Hampi, at a glance

Located in Bellary district of Karnataka, Hampi is a significant historical site in India which conveys message about the well planned ancient cities and talks about one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms of Indian history. The closeness of Hampi to the river Tungabhadra adds to the magnificence of its natural setting. The property mainly covers an area of around 26 sq. km guarded by seven lines of fortifications.

Despite being ruined by the passing time, the destination encompasses more than 1500 remains of artistic works including forts, royal and sacred complexes, riverside features, shrines, temples, pillared halls, Mandapas, memorial structures, defense check posts, gateways, stables, water structures, etc. This old fortified city has number of temples which are rich in magnificent architectural design.

Vitthala temple is the most intricately designed temple which is a culmination of Vijayanagara Temple Architecture. Other notable temples in Hampi are the Ganesa, Narasimha, Pattabhirama temple, Hazara Ramachandra and Chandrasekhara temple. There are significant temple complexes like Hemakuta group of temples, Krishna temple complex, Achyutaraya temple complex, Lotus Mahal complex and some more.

These gigantic Dravidian temples are surrounded by sub-urban townships. The temple complex also includes residential areas, markets, small shrines, tanks and shops meeting the needs of daily requirement.

4. Ajanta Caves Maharashtra

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in : In second century BC

Year of Inscription : 1983

Reasons for Inscription : Criteria number (i), (ii), (iii) and (vi). Ajanta Caves are precious example of creative brilliance of man. These caves are the unique illustrations of prehistoric traditions, art and architecture.

Category : Religious structure of Buddhists

Timing : 9 PM until sunset

Closed on : Monday

Ajanta caves are the set of 29 Buddhist cave temples. Concealed away in the hills of North-west India, around 200 miles way from the busy roads of Mumbai, a superlative gemstone of art and religion is sited.

The Ajanta Caves shaped into the face of a mountain, appear as a horseshoe around the Wangorah River. These caves are the matchless epitomes of one of nation's distinctive artistic traditions- the rock cut temples. Some of these caves date back from the 2nd century BC. Comprising the Buddhist traditions of Theravada and Mahayana, Ajanta caves boast some of the most precious works of Buddhist art that is carved in it. These spellbinding caves are situated at 55 kms distance from the Jagaon city and just 105 kms away from Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Ajanta Caves - A brief summary

Buddhism is mainly divided into two groups Hinyana and Mahayana. The Ajanta Caves perfectly display the fine line of transfer between these two Buddhist sects. The Hinyana sect did not use to revere any deity, and this group worship stupas and the similar rock forms to embody Buddha. On the other hand, Mahayana sect used the idols of different god and goddess they believed in. It is an interesting factor that the Ajanta Caves incorporate both the Prayer Halls (known as Chaitya) and monasteries. These caves also include both the types of Hinyana and Mahayana art, architecture, painting and scriptures. The caves representing the Hinyana are cave number 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15, while the caves related to Mahayana sect are numbered as 1, 2, 16, 17, 19, 26. Among the Mahayana caves, 19 and 26 are the prayer halls.

Caves number 1 and 2 display some fascinating paintings that depict Jataka Tales (Jatak Katha). Another common illustration of wonderful sculpture is the idol of Buddha delivering sermons in sitting position. Cave no. 10 also depicts Jatak Katha, and also brags some beautiful images of Buddha. The caves number 16 and 17 startlingly exemplify the peerless architecture through the images of the child and youth time of Lord Buddha, Jatak Katha, Saraswati Tales, etc. The caves numbering from 20 to 25 were used for residence in olden days. The Caves from 1 to 8, except number 4 and 7, and then from 14 to 17, are the monasteries.

 5,) Ellora Caves Maharashtra

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in : During 5th and 7th century BC.

Year of Inscription : 1983

Reasons for Inscription : Criteria number (1), (3) and (6). Ellora Caves is a valued paradigm of creative brilliancy by humans. These caves are the exclusive figures of primitive traditions, art and architecture.

Category : Archaeological site, South (East) Asian

Timing : 9 AM until sunset

Closed : Tuesday

Ellora Caves is a renowned tourist place in India. The caves, situated at a distance of around 30 kilometers from Aurangabad, are famous for their amazing architecture and style. These caves are manmade temples cut into an enormous stonework hillside, constructed by generations of Jain, Hindu and Buddhist monks. Ellora Caves comprise of 34 cave temples from the period between the 6th and 11th centuries AD. Among these temples 12 are Mahayana Buddhist caves that date back to 550-750 AD, while 17 are Hindu caves belonging to 600-875 AD and 5 caves of the Jains from 800-1000 AD. The Kailasa Temple, in cave number 16, is the most outstanding of all.

A Brief about Ellora Caves

The Caves in Ellora are a wonderful amalgamation of Hindu, Jain and Buddhists cultures. Amazingly, the most unbelievable fact about these caves is the incredible rock cut sculptures made by hands, with just a chisel and hammer. The Ellora Caves had remained cloaked in obscurity for more than a hundred years.

In 1819, a British Army Officer, John Smith, unintentionally stumbled upon these caves during his hunting expedition. The skill of the myriad unknown Indian artists at Ellora, astounds and fascinates the tourists. Tourists are certain to walk away with some great insights about India's affluent cultural inheritance. 

6. Mahabodhi Temple Complex Bihar

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built In : 3rd century B.C.

Year of Inscription : 2002

Reasons for Inscription : Criteria number (1), (2), (3), (4), and (6). It is one of the few temples left in the world that signifies the architectural skills of the Indian people in constructing magnificent brick temples during the 5th and 6th centuries. The temple is situated at a place where Lord Buddha attained spiritual enlightenment.

The Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya is one of the four prominent sacred sites of Buddhism. It is a place where Prince Siddhartha Gautama achieved spiritual knowledge and became the Buddha. The complex is also known by the name Bodhimanda Vihara that means 'Position of Awakening'. The temple is visited in large numbers by both the Buddhist and Hindu devotees (many Hindus consider Lord Buddha as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu).

Category : Religious Structure, Buddhist

Timing : 5 AM to 9 PM

MAHABODHI TEMPLE COMPLEX – AN OVERVIEW

The magnificent Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Bodh Gaya is situated in the central part of the state of Bihar. The temple is about 96 km away from Patna, the capital city of Bihar. The first temple was constructed by King Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C. while the present temple complex is estimated to be erected somewhere between the 6th or 5th century B.C. The entire temple has been built only by using bricks, which is a sculptural masterpiece. The temple helps the devotees to get an insight about the life and teachings of Lord Buddha. The sacred Bodhi tree under which Siddhartha Gautama meditated and attained spiritual knowledge is situated on the west side of the temple.

There are plenty of towers in the temple and the longest one is believed to be 55 meters tall. The gold painted idol of Lord Buddha sitting in the 'Bhumisparsa Mudra' (Earth touching posture) captivates the attention of the visitors. The devotees can also visit seven other places located inside the temple complex where Lord Buddha used to meditate after getting enlightenment. The premises of the temple include several smaller stupas and Buddha statues. Some of the idols are believed to hundred years old. 

7. Sun Temple Konark

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in : 1250

Year of Inscription : 1984

Reasons for Inscription : Monumental depiction of the Sun-God, Surya's chariot, Sun Temple at Konark, is included in the list of World Heritage Site based on the criteria no. (i), (iii), and (vi). The temple is a specimen of Kalinga architecture and depicts unique artistic achievement. The artistic works on the temple walls have highlighted memorable legends of the past through intricate designing on the stone. The temple is also an excellent embodiment of 13th century kingdom of Orissa.

Category : Hindu Religious Structure

Timing : 10 am to 5 pm

Closed on : Friday

Sun Temple in Brief

Located on the shore of Bay of Bengal, Sun Temple-Konark is the main attraction of Konark tourism. It is situated in the Puri district of Orissa. The temple was constructed under the patronage of King Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty. It is dedicated to Sun God of Hindu mythology and resembles the shape of gigantic chariot fitted with giant wheels. Every nook and corner of the temple is carved with various stone sculpture depicting different identities and activities.

The temple has 24 carved wheels divided into 12 pairs. To draw the chariot, seven giant stone horses are tied to it. The temple is designed with refined iconographical depictions of the life and activities of contemporary era. The space between the wheels and the plinth of the temple is adorned with the eclectic shapes of wonderful lions, dancer-musicians, and different postures of erotic groups.

The temple is further divided into spatial units. The Vimana was surmounted by a tall tower with a shikhara(crowning cap). Though a major part of the temple is under ruin, yet the grandeur of the temple is highly praiseworthy and significant from tourists' point of view. The main entrance of the temple is constructed in such a manner that first rays of sunrise bathe it with all brightness. The audience hall of the temple is around 128 feet tall. Other significant structures found in temple premise are Nata Mandapa (dancing hall) and Bhoga Mandapa (dining hall).

8. The Red Fort (Lal Quila) Delhi

 Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built In : 1648

Year of Inscription : 2007

Reasons for Inscription : Criteria number (2), (3), and (6). The Red Fort exhibits the outstanding architectural brilliance of the Mughal Era. The Red Fort has been an emblem of supremacy since the rule of Shah Jahan. It has witnessed the transformations in Indian history including the rule of the British. The Red Fort was the spot where the independence of India was first celebrated.

The Red Fort, constructed by the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan, is one of the best works of art the Mughal Rulers presented to India. This magnificent edifice is also known as Lal Quila.

Category : Secular structure, Military / Fortifications.

Timing : 9 AM to 7 PM

Closed : Monday 

Brief Information

The Red Fort is located on the western bank of Yamuna. It is surrounded by a wall of around 2.4 kilometers in circumference; the elevation of the wall varies from 18 meters on the bank of the river and 33 meters to the corner of city. The fort, in fact, replicates the splendor of the Mughal epoch, equally in terms of art and architecture.

The first Prime Minister of free India, Jawahar Lal Nehru, hoisted the national flag of India at the Red Fort on 15th August 1947. With this, the declaration of India as an independent and free nation was made. This presented a change in the significance of this fort from a historic to a national monument.

This fascinating monument boasts imposing audience halls, a bazaar where the royal family used to shop, marble fortresses, which were once dotted with valuable gems, baths, plazas, and a mosque. The edifice has undergone many modifications from the time when it was erected. The Red Fort comprises many heritage components of the Mughal Era. These components occupy one third of the entire area. Moreover, there are a number of heritage constructions of the British era. Imitating the sumptuousness of the Mughal age, there are 15 different arresting constructions within the fort. These structures embrace the Deewan-e-Khaas, Deewan-e-aam, Lahore Gate, Naqqar Khana, Chatta Chowk, etc.

9.Buddhist Monuments Madhya Pradesh

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built In : 3rd century B.C.

Year of Inscription : 1989

Reasons for Inscription : Criteria number (1), (2), (3), (4) and (6). These monuments are some of the oldest preserved monuments of India and epitomize Mauryan architecture, traditions and beliefs.

The Buddhist monuments at Sanchi are classic illustrations of Mauryan Art and Architecture in the form of stupas, holy shrines and monasteries of the Buddha. According to Indian history, when the great Mauryan King Asoka embraced Buddhism, he constructed his first Stupa, known as Sanchi Stupa. He later built several more stupas, as well as many other religious edifices. The British army rediscovered these fascinating sites in the year 1818.

Category : Religious structure and Buddhist

 A brief insight

Great Stupa, one of the Buddhist monuments at Sanchi, was erected for paying homage to Lord Buddha. It is basically a low-altitude edifice made of bricks. In the olden days, a barrier made of wood bounded it and there was also a stone umbrella placed at the apex of the Stupa.

The second largest stupa, the Sanchi Stupa, is a major monument constructed to portray the life and journey of Lord Buddha. This monument attracts historians and tourists in droves and is the oldest stone structure in the country.

Sanchi Stupa is a model of excellence in inscription, which can be clearly seen on the four gateways of the structure. The Sanchi Stupa was renovated and decorated with staircase, railings and harmika during the rule of Shunga Dynasty.

The relics of Lord Buddha and his sermons are wonderfully engraved on the columns and pillars of the stupas. During the Mauryan Empire, Sanchi was also known as Bota Sriparvata, Kakanaya and Kakanava. It is a famous pilgrimage destination for the followers of Buddhism.

10-Mahabalipuram Tamil Nadu

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in : 630-728 AD

Year of Inscription : 1984

Reasons for Inscription : Criteria number (1), (2), (3) and (6). The Group of Monuments is an example of prehistoric architectural brilliance. It carries a unique display of primordial traditions and civilizations.

Category : Religious structure, Hindu

A monument complex popularly known as Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, is positioned on the Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal. Mahabalipuram is situated in close proximity to Chennai in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu. The architectural magnificence of the 7th and the 8th century monument makes Mahabalipuram a peerless illustration of ancient civilization and beliefs.

A Brief note about Mahabalipuram Monuments

Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram was the capital region during the reign of Pallava Dynasty in the 7th century AD. The Pallavas rulers used to hold the ultimate command in the southern part of India, after the decline of Gupta Dynasty.

Pallava rulers were popular for their inclination towards Tamilian art and culture. The power and creativity was at its peak during the kingdom of Narasimha Varman-I and Narasimha Varman-II. The renowned Shore Temple and other temple complexes and rock carved caves were built during this period.The tourist attractions incorporate descent of Ganges, structural temples like the Shore Temple and Olakkanesvara Temple, Mantapas or cave temples like Mahishasurmardini Cave Temple, Krishna Cave Temple, Panchpandava Cave Temple and Varah Cave Temple.

The temples that are in the shape of a chariot are also known as Panch Rathas Temples. The list of Panch Rathas Temples in Mahabalipuram comprises Ganesha Ratha, Dharmaraja Ratha, Draupadi Ratha, Arjun Ratha, Nakula- Sehdeva Ratha and Bheema Ratha.

This place has a number of names, such as Mamallapuram, Mahamallapuram, Mallapuram and Mavalipuram. The sailors from Europe named Mahabalipuram as the Land of Seven Pagodas because of the seven pinnacles or stupas of its temples.

11. Humayun's Tomb Delhi

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built In : 1569

Year of Inscription : 1993

Reasons for Inscription : Following the criteria no (ii) and (iv) Humayun's Tomb was inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reason behind inscribing this wonderful construction relates with the fact that it exemplifies the formative stage of Mughal architecture. The tomb also represents the specimen of the double-domed elevation with kiosks on large scale. The Mughal style of garden tomb was first introduced in this tomb which used to include causeways and channels around it.

Category : Secular structure, burial

Timing : From 6 am to 6 pm

Closed on : Null 

An insight into the Humayun's Tomb

After the death of Humayun, his eldest wife Bega Begam took initiative to build this tomb. In 1569, she employed Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect to build this wonderful monument. This red sandstone tomb is built ramidst a square garden divided into four main parterres known as charbagh. At the centre of this garden a shallow water-channel can be seen. There are two double-storeyed gateways on the west and south of the monument. The centre of the western wall is occupied by a baradari (pavilion) and a hammam( bathroom) is found at the centre of northern wall.

The mausoleum is set on a high, wide and terraced platform. Across the sides small arched cells add to its architectural importance. It is designed like an asymmetrical octagon with four long and four short sides. A 42.5m high double dome is designed with marble and edged by exclusively carved chhatris (pillared kiosks). The interior is a spacious chamber which is octagonal in shape and set with domed roof compartments. The chamber is again interconnected with galleries and corridors. The entire structure is built with red sand stone with white and black inlaid marble borders.

12. Jantar Mantar Jaipur

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built In : Early 18th Century

Year of Inscription : 2010

Reasons for Inscription : Criteria number (3) and (4). Jantar Mantar is an amazing example of observing universe, beliefs and societies together. It comprises the instruments that are largest of their category. It signifies the technical brilliance of the medieval world.

Jantar Mantar, situated at Jaipur, is the largest stone observatory in the globe. Jantar Mantar is one of the five astronomical observatories constructed by the founder of Jaipur- Maharaja Jai Singh. The name 'Jantar Mantar' is taken from the Yantra Manta, a Sanskrit word that refers to instruments and formulae. The 'Yantra Mantra' factually denotes 'Magical Device'.

Category : Secular structure, Educational.

Timing : 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM        

An Overview

Maharaja Jai Singh was a reputed astronomer. Emperor Muhammad Shah commissioned him to rectify the astronomical tables and to validate the data available on the positions of the planets. Jai Singh then built Jantar Mantar in seven years. This edifice was restored in the year 1901 and was declared as a national monument in the year 1948. The fascinating structure Jantar Mantar is completely made up of marble and stone. There are in total fourteen geometric devices in this observatory. These devices are used for computing the time of the day, predicting eclipses, the position of constellations, and the heights of celestial bodies.

These geometric devices are bit complex to understand but they are mainly used to calculating the time is the major purpose. For instance, Samrat Yantra is a sundial, which can tell the time with an accuracy of only two-second difference from the local time of Jaipur. This Samrat Yantra is 27.4 meters in height and used to forecast the commencement of monsoon on Guru Purnima, even today. The observatories of Jantar Mantar have enthralled the astronomers, historians, artists and architects from all over the globe. 

13. Agra Fort

 Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in : In sixteenth century.

Year of Inscription : 1983

Reasons for Inscription : Criteria number (iii). This fort is an exceptionally amazing masterpiece that represents the magnificent architecture of primeval epoch.

Category : Military / Fortifications, Palace Secular structure,Secular structure.

Timing : 6 AM to 5:30 PM

Agra Fort is one of the most imperative and strongly built edifices of the Mughal rulers, inflated with the sum of opulentlyadorned buildings incorporating the daunting Mughal style of art and construction.It issituated in Agra of Uttar Pradesh, India. The fort is popular among tourists as Red Fort, Fort Rouge and LaalQuila of Agra. It is positioned on the rightward bank of the Yamuna River and was built by the third Mughal king Akbar on the leftovers of aprehistoricplacewell known as Badalgarh.

A Brief about Agra Fort

AgraFort is constructednear the Yamuna River and expansesmore or less 2.5 km. It comprises of a wall madeof red stone and quite a lot ofstructures inside. There are two gates in the wall, the Amar Singh Gate and the Delhi Gate. A tourist can enter the fort by way of the Amar Singh Gate.

After entering through the gateway, one has to walk over a gradient and move in the Great Courtyard. There is the sundry pillared Deewan-e-Aam (Great hall of Public Audience). This hall was erected by Shah Jahan in the year 1628.

Moving forward, tourist will come across the Regal Pavilions that contain amazing mosques naming Mina Masjid and Nagina Masjid. There are also many palaces namely Shah JahaniMahal, MacchiBhavan, Shish Mahal and KhasMahal located inside the fort, along with a beautiful ZenanaMeena Bazaar.

There are also located numerous constructions made of unadulterated sandstone with eye-grabbing carvings. The wonderful piece of smart architecture is clearly displayed on the walls that are hollow and are full of continuously running water, in order to cool off the rooms of the fort.

One of the most striking facts that make Agra Fort a must-visit destination in Agra is the arresting view of TajMahal and the gleaming Yamuna River from the Balcony of this fort.

14. Fatehpur Sikri Uttar Pradesh

 Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in : Closing days of 16th century

Year of Inscription : 1986

Reasons for Inscription : As per the criteria no (ii), (iii) and (iv) Fatehpur Sikri was inscribed in the list of World Heritage Site. Made of red sandstone and adorned with stunning architectural grandeur, this wonderful tourist spot is regarded as the first planned city in Indo-Islamic style.

Category : Archaeological site, South (East) Asian.

Timing : From sunrise to sunset

Closed on : Null

An insight into the city

The most intellectual Mughal emperor Akbar built the city in the honour of famous Sufi saint Salim Chisti. Located at a distance of around 40km from Agra, it is a medieval Indian city in Uttar Pradesh. Akbar built the city at the end of the 16th century and shifted the capital of the Mughal Empire from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri. The city was later inhabited by the Mughal rulers only for around 14 years and was left secluded.

The city is perched atop a rocky ridge and there are wonderful constructions of similar designs across the city. Most of the buildings have similarity in their architectural style. The city is guarded on three sides by b walls, towers and there are seven gates.

Most of the important constructions of the city are seen to the north of the main road leading to Agra from Gaza. They form a homogenous group and a b influence of Hindu, Persian and Indo-Muslim traditions can be witnessed in their architectural style.

Diwan-i-Am, the Hall of Public Audience, is enclosed by quite a few porticos where imperial box was inserted. This is the common hall where Akbar along with his ministers used to listen to the problems and complains of his subjects and used to met out justice.

This imperial box is directly connected with Daulat Khana (Imperial Palace). To the north of this royal edifice, Diwan-i-Kas (Hall of Private Audience) is located. This monument is known mainly for its wonderful central plan which is comprised of a beautiful centre surrounded by a circular balcony: the 'throne'.

Other significant monuments in Fatehpur Sikri are the Ranch Mahal, whose height of four recessed storeys resembles a few Buddhist temples, the pavilion of Turkish Sultana or Anup Talao, the palace of Jodha Bai, the abode of Birbal, problematic 'stables' and the caravanserai.

15. Rani ki Vav Gujarat

 Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built In : Between 1022 and 1063 AD.

Year of Inscription : 2014

Reasons for Inscription : Criteria number (1) and (4). This stepwell is a remarkable cultural edifice that represents the wonderful sculptural brilliance of the primordial-period.

Ran Ki Vav, or the Queen's Stepwell, is located in Patan town of Gujarat. It is an astonishing example of Royal Steep Well and was constructed between 1022 and 1063 AD. This beautiful edifice was re-discovered in the 1950s after spending many years in the wilderness. Thus, the flamboyant carvings here are wonderfully preserved. This place includes many inimitable traits that have made it one of the most significant stepwells in the country.

Category : Cultural Structure.

Timing : 8 AM to 6 PM 

A Brief about Rani Ki Vav

Rani-ki-Vav at Patan is said to be erected by Queen Udayamati, who was the wife of King Bhimadeva I. This site is a fine example of flamboyant Solanki structural design. It is 64 m in length and 20 m in width. When Rani ki Vav was originally built, it had seven stories. Among them, only five are preserved at present. The depth of this arresting stepwell is 27 meters and it is oriented towards the east west direction. It has a corridor with long steps that tumble down to the tank underground.

This construction is embraced with four compartmental multi-storied pavilions that have circular pillars. The interiors of the well, pillared pavilions and the corridor walls are embroidered with excellent sculptures. In the past there were around 800 sculptures in Rani Ki Vav; however, only 400 of those sculptures survive today. These enticing sculptures incorporate gods, goddesses, apsaras and various other Hindu themes.

16. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal Karnataka

 Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built In : 8th Century

Year of Inscription : 1987

Reasons for Inscription : As per the criteria no (iii) and (iv) Monuments at Pattadakal were announced as World Heritage Site. Despite being a specimen of the great Chalukya architectural style, the monuments here exhibit unique blend of Dravidian as well as Indo-Aryan style of architecture. The temples found in Pattadakal are designed with a mixture of architectural designs starting from Nagara, Rekha, Prasada, and the Dravida Vimana styles of temple building.

Category : Archaeological site, South (East) Asian Religious structure, Hindu.

 Pattadakal in Brief

Situated in Bijapur district of Karnataka, Pattadakal earns fame for its ancient Indian group of buildings which was a holy place for royal coronation. Location and natural backdrop of this temple complex is praiseworthy and changes the overall set up of the temples. Malaprabha River is located to the north of this complex, whereas a small village is situated to the south what transform Pattadakal to a sort of holy city.

The city houses a series of eight Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Siva which were built for the royal worshipping purpose of Chalukya Dynasty. All of these temples are in architectural splendor.

The Sangamesvara temple is known to be the oldest temple in Pattadakal. Inspired by the style of Rekha Nagara Prasada, Galaganatha temple was built between 8th and 9th century.

Following the architectural magnificence of the buildings set in early Chalukyan style, the Kasivisvesvara temple was built. The Mallikarjuna temple was built to celebrate the victory of Vikramaditya II over the Pallavas. It was commissioned by Rani Trilokyamahadevi who also constructed the Virupaksha temple inspired by the style of Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram.

17. Elephanta Caves Maharashtra

 The Elephanta Caves are a cluster of caves situated at Gharapuri on the Elephanta Island in the Mumbai Harbour. This island situated on a projection of Arabian Sea comprises of two cave groups, the first group includes five Hindu caves and the second one two Buddhist caves. The Hindu caves comprise of the stone rock-cut sculptures devoted to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva and represents the Hindu sect Shaiva. The caves are carved out of basalt solid rock. The rock –cut cave architecture dates back to the period of 5th-8th century. The Cave 1 or the Great or Main cave was the haven of worship of Hindu deities. After the Portuguese began to rule, the caves were damaged to a considerable extent. These caves were repaired and are preserved now as UNESCO World Heritage Site from the year 1987 and now it is looked after by the ASI or Archaeological Survey of India.

HISTORY OF THE ATTRACTION

The historians have dated the Elephanta Caves and believe to belong to the period of 5th-8th century. The caves are of historical importance and can be traced to the defeat of the Mauryan Rulers reining the Konkan kingdom by the emperor Pulakesi belonging to the Badami Chalukya dynasty in the battle

 18. Nalanda, Bihar

Nalanda in BiharA magnificent site of culture and learning, Nalanda is among the most popular religious centers of India. It was created in the 5th century and was the desired destination of Gautam Buddha and Lord Mahavir who stayed for many years. Having rich tradition and mores, this place has gained honors worldwide. It is visited by folks to scout monasteries and very old monuments. It is indeed a fantastic destination for history lovers. The relics of the ancient university are the main appeal in the entire town of Nalanda. In addition to this, beautiful temples also represents the splendid past of Nalanda. One must not miss out on a place like this that carries great culture and history of the ancient times.

Facts about Nalanda

Best time to visit: October to March
STD Code: 61194
Language: Magadhi and Hindi

Tourist Attractions in Nalanda:

Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall: A chinese tourist who stayed at world's first university known as Nalanda University, Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall is a must visit attraction of Nalanda.

Nav Nalanda Mahavihara: An important educational institute of Nalanda, Nav Nalanda Vihar offers education basically on Pali and Buddhism. It was founded by Bihar government in 1951 and serves as a main site for students who wish to gain a profound knowledge in Buddhism.

Bihar Sharif: Having remnants of medieval Islamic structural design of the Gupta kingdom, Bihar Sharif speaks about a superb tradition that entices the tourists from all over.

Rajgir: Surrounded by seven mountains, Rajgir is said to be the main site of Gautam Buddha during rainy time. The main attraction of Rajgir is its dance festival that reveals classic performances of experienced performers. Moreover, the serene locations and verdant landscape make it a perfect place of tourists and pilgrims.

 19. Qutub Minar Delhi

Tag : Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built In : Early 13th Century

Year of Inscription : 1993

Reasons for Inscription : Qutub Minar, the masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art, is made of red sandstone. It is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site as per the criterion no (iv). According to this criterion, a building or architectural splendour which illustrates important stage(s) in human history can be included in the list. Qutub Minar, with its glorious past and related facts, occupies a significant place in the list of Indian monuments and conveys about a particular dynasty which was established by a mere slave.

Category : Religious structure, Islamic.

 Qutub Minar, at a glance

Qutub Minar, the grand and artistic structure lies at a distance of few kilometres from the south of Delhi. The construction of Qutub Minar was started by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak, the founder of Slave Dynasty in India. It is mainly a complex of structures built in memory of different Slave dynasty rulers. Though the construction of the main red sandstone tower (Qutub Minar) was started by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak in the early 13th century, it was completed by his successors in later years. It is the finest example of creations of Mamluk Dynasty which is popularly known as Slave Dynasty.

It is a 73 m high tower with five distinct storeys built after the defeat of last Hindu Kingdom of ancient Delhi. The first three storeys of this wonderful tower are made with red sandstone whereas fourth and fifth storeys are of marble and sandstone.

It was built with the material obtained by destroying 42 Hindu Temples. Quwwatu'l-Islam mosque, the earliest mosque in northern India is located at the base of the tower. A 7.2 m long iron pillar of ancient Gupta Dynasty (4th century) is positioned in the mosque premise. The unique feature of this pillar is- its high corrosion resistant nature due to which there is no sign of rust in this pillar till date. In the north-west corner of the mosque, the Tomb of Iltutmish stands as an excellent work of art. Other inseparable parts of this complex are Alai Darwaza, Alai Minar etc.

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